TSA seizes record number of firearms


Story highlights

The TSA says it has seized 2,000 guns this year

Most people probably forget their guns are in carry-on bags

Follow TSA rules for including your guns in checked luggage

CNN —  

Before you fly this holiday season, don’t forget to remove your gun from your carry-on bag.

When packing your carry-on luggage, don’t forget to remove your gun.

The U.S. Transportation Security Administration seized a record 2,212 firearms from carry-on luggage in 2014, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security reported Friday.

That’s more than the TSA has seized in any other year of its existence, and it’s a 22% increase from the 1,813 guns seized in 2013. (The agency actually hit a record 2,000 seizures on December 1, before the year was over.)

“The vast majority of passengers have no nefarious intent but forgot their firearm in their carry-on bag,” TSA spokesman Ross Feinstein wrote in an email.

Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport security seized the most guns last year, with 120. Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport came in second place with 109 gun seizures, and Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport came in third place with 78 gun seizures.

Forgetting can be costly.

Passengers whose guns are spotted by TSA security during the screening process can be arrested by airport or local police and face criminal charges, and the TSA can impose civil penalties. And TSA Pre-check members can be temporarily or permanently banned from the expedited screening program.

“It is a reminder that passengers should check their personal belongings before arriving at the TSA checkpoint to ensure they do not have any prohibited items in their possession,” TSA spokesman Ross Feinstein said.

The 1,813 guns seized by the TSA in 2013 was up from 1,556 seizures in 2012 and 1,320 in 2011. The agency seized 1,123 guns in 2010, 976 guns in 2009, 926 guns in 2008, 803 guns in 2007 and 821 guns in 2006.

People who want to take their guns to their destinations shouldn’t simply pack them. The TSA’s website,, lists agency rules to follow for checking firearms and other weapons. The agency doesn’t list state and local weapons laws, which vary by jurisdiction.

Fake guns aren’t OK, either. The TSA also found more than 1,400 firearm components, replica firearms, stun guns and other “dangerous objects” in carry-on luggage.

Pies and cakes can go through passenger screening but may be subject to secondary screening. And a horror for Santa-believing parents everywhere: Presents may be unwrapped.

Crazy things Americans tried to take on planes in 2013